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Minimizing PowerBook Fan noise
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iDORK
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Jul 19, 2005, 07:52 PM
 
Is there anyway to get a 12" PowerBook G4 (1.5 Ghz) to the point where the fan doesn't run every 5 minutes? The fans seem to come on when the hard disk reaches 46 C which can be accomplished by running basic programs like Safari etc.

The back end of the computer is elevated nearly 2" off the desk and have the processor set to "Reduced" and all of this still happens. One of two things would be great:

1) To find a way to run the computer cooler with some form of software configuration.

2) To find a way to make the fans kick in at a higher temperatrue than when the hard disk reaches 46 C.

Someone out there has to know something! Thanks!!!
     
TFunkadelic
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Jul 19, 2005, 08:47 PM
 
I'm not sure you want to find a way to make them activate at a higher temperature. This could subject your processor/hard drive/vpu to temperatures they were not designed to work at. Unfortunately I don't know of a way you can decrease the temperature with a software configuration. I have read quite a few threads where people complained about the powerbook 12 inch model being a bit too loud.
     
Agent69
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Jul 20, 2005, 08:20 AM
 
You could always try this.
Agent69
     
crazeazn
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Jul 20, 2005, 12:06 PM
 
dont open so much stuff? keep it raised.
12" AI book REV B, mac mini core duo 1.66
     
papworth
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Jul 20, 2005, 12:48 PM
 
Originally Posted by Agent69
You could always try this.
i had a large lump of aluminium from school which I use this way under my 12", though it gets warm rather quickly, maybe i should cut some vanes into it.
     
amazing
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Jul 20, 2005, 01:53 PM
 
How much RAM do you have? The more the merrier because it prevents accessing the HD, where HD activity is a major source of heat. Summer temps don't help.

Next tip would be to open Activity Monitor in the utilities folder and then set it to "all processes", while clicking on the "% CPU" column. That'll tell you if anything is excessively pegging the cpu. For example, when I play Shanghai II in Classic, the temps go up. If I leave it open in the background while checking something in Safari, it gets griddle hot very quickly. NOTE: Virex, for example, is known to cause over-heating.

Are you using Temperox to monitor the fan speeds and temps? I like to consult it when the 12" breaks into hair dryer mode, to see what the speeds of the two internal fans are doing.

I've got a Targus Tornado Cool Mat, which sits under my 12" 1.33 when I'm sitting in the recliner. It keeps the hot bottom face off my legs. The Cool Mat has 2 very quiet fans that pull air from around the bottom face and exhaust it out a slot on the top edge (USB powered.) The fans can't be heard over the 34 rpm of the right rear PB fan. That said, it would've been more efficient for the Cool Mat to be blowing air onto the bottom since it would result in more active cooling. I'm sure the Cool Mat helps lower temps, but it's not a very active cooling device. The Antec Notebook Cooler would also work, but because the bottom surface isn't flat, you can't use it on your lap--it also pulls air away from the laptop and exhausts it out the bottom, so I don't think it would be as efficient a cooling device as you might like (unless the fans are more powerful than the Cool Mat, which they aren't judging by the dB rating on the Antec noise.)

Since you talk about elevating the 12", you're undoubtedly using it most often on a desk. I'd suggest getting a very quiet small desk fan, which you aim so as to blow some air under the PB, whatever your comfort zone is as to noise and air blowing on you. (Frankly, this is probably the best suggestion.)

When I'm at my desk, I put the 12" on a Mexican marble chessboard (found cheap at the Sally Ann) and when the hair dryer comes on, I lower the 12" onto the marble which helps bring the temp down quickly. Marble is a good heatsink (like the suggested aluminum sheet), but once it's "saturated" the benefit is much lessened, so I elevate it again. Mostly, you'll want to look at a combination of the deskfan and something like the marble heatsink.
     
Fusion
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Jul 20, 2005, 06:02 PM
 
Open Energy Preference Pane, select "Lowest" in the processor speed options.
     
amazing
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Jul 20, 2005, 06:45 PM
 
Reporting back on the deskfan: Works like a charm. Plus, I also enjoy the cool breeze when the house is up to 80 or more.
     
JoshuaZ
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Jul 22, 2005, 01:18 AM
 
Invest in a nice stand.
     
amazing
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Jul 22, 2005, 02:39 AM
 
Something like a stand or a marble slab will help a little bit in Spring and Fall, when the temps inside aren't that high. Or if you've got AC, they might be sufficient.

If you don't have AC and interior room temp is getting up there, passive cooling like the above won't work. There isn't enough temperature differential for passive cooling to work for long. You'll need active cooling like a fan.
     
tie
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Jul 22, 2005, 01:59 PM
 
Move the computer around on the table to keep finding cool spots. Carefully sponge down the back of the case with ice water. Use Activity Monitor to keep track of CPU usage. Quit any programs which are not in active use, close Finder windows which you don't need open, hide Activity Monitor so it doesn't use CPU redrawing the window. Quit and restart Safari occasionally since it alone can overstress the 12" G4. Avoid visiting websites which use features like Flash or Java. Never use Dashboard (it can use CPU even in the background so don't ever press F12). Before opening an application, ask yourself, "Do I really need to use this app now?" and count to five slowly — don't do anything too hastily. Put the computer to sleep for 5 minutes every half hour to give it a break and let it cool down. Restart the computer a few times a day, since certain apps seem to use background processes, and it isn't easy to know which can be quitted safely. Avoid using an external monitor, since this will stress the graphics card, and consider running the LCD at 800x600 256 colors instead of 1024x768 millions.

Wear ear plugs.
( Last edited by tie; Jul 22, 2005 at 02:07 PM. )
     
amazing
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Jul 23, 2005, 10:59 AM
 
Well, i've never heard of wiping the back of the case down with ice water??!

Personally, the fan works excellently well. In the midst of record hot summer temps (good thing we don't believe in global warming) and blowing hot air across the PB helps cool both of us, yep, I need relief from hot air as well...
     
Randman
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Jul 23, 2005, 11:05 AM
 
Originally Posted by tie
Move the computer around on the table to keep finding cool spots.
That's silly. Raise it and let air circulate underneath. More effective.

Originally Posted by tie
Carefully sponge down the back of the case with ice water.
Is that a joke?

Originally Posted by tie
Quit and restart Safari occasionally since it alone can overstress the 12" G4.
Deactivating the cache and turning off Autofill > Others is more effective over the long run but do quit Safari every few days.

Originally Posted by tie
Avoid visiting websites which use features like Flash or Java.
Pithhelmet.

Originally Posted by tie
Never use Dashboard (it can use CPU even in the background so don't ever press F12).
Close the widgets you don't need and you'll be fine.

Originally Posted by tie
Restart the computer a few times a day
Not needed.

Originally Posted by tie
Avoid using an external monitor, since this will stress the graphics card, and consider running the LCD at 800x600 256 colors instead of 1024x768 millions.
That won't cause a rise in heat, even in closed lid mode.

This is a computer-generated message and needs no signature.
     
8minute
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Feb 1, 2006, 06:27 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing
Are you using Temperox to monitor the fan speeds and temps? I like to consult it when the 12" breaks into hair dryer mode, to see what the speeds of the two internal fans are doing.
The fan on my 1.33Ghz 12" PB is always on now (after I replaced the HDD with a new seagate momentus 7200.1). Even when you are doing nothing (just firefox open sitting idle). I'm thinking I must have bumped something loose or perhaps didn't put the the back together properly.

Anyways, I downloaded Temperox just to see what my fans are doing. The rear left fan is spinning at 6741 rpm, whilst the right is only going at 37 rpm. Looks strange to me ...

Does anyone know if this is normal, or do they get different readings for fan speed? Thanks.

| 12"Al.PB:1.33GHz:1.25GB:100GB:SD |
     
amazing
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Feb 1, 2006, 07:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by 8minute
The fan on my 1.33Ghz 12" PB is always on now (after I replaced the HDD with a new seagate momentus 7200.1). Even when you are doing nothing (just firefox open sitting idle). I'm thinking I must have bumped something loose or perhaps didn't put the the back together properly.

Anyways, I downloaded Temperox just to see what my fans are doing. The rear left fan is spinning at 6741 rpm, whilst the right is only going at 37 rpm. Looks strange to me ...

Does anyone know if this is normal, or do they get different readings for fan speed? Thanks.
Download Temperature monitor 3.2 which will tell you the temp of the HD bottomside.

My 1.33 12" with the stock 60 GB 4200 rpm HD now reads 108 F/42.2 C (HD bottomside temp) and the right rear fan is at 25 rpm and left rear fan is at 0 rpm. 'Course it's winter here and I keep the house at 66 F. Down under, what summer temps are you getting? Local air temp will really influence the laptop temps, along with processes you've got running.

Review the earlier tips about Activity monitor (in particular: is anything pegging the processor like Classic or Virex?) What OS version are you running, because 10.4 seemed to run somewhat cooler?

If you tried all the tips, about the only thing you can do is wait for winter temps (or air conditioning) or get a small desk fan to blow across the laptop (which you should elevate in some way.)

addition: I very much suspect you're seeing the temperature effects of the 7200 rpm HD. If that's the case, if the noise and heat continue to really bug you, the only remedy is to remove it and put in a 5400 rpm HD with the 7200 rpm in a fw-400 case.
     
amazing
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Feb 1, 2006, 07:52 PM
 
addition: I very much suspect you're seeing the temperature effects of the 7200 rpm HD. If that's the case, if the noise and heat continue to really bug you, the only remedy is to remove it and put in a 5400 rpm HD with the 7200 rpm in a fw-400 case.
     
8minute
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Feb 1, 2006, 10:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by amazing
Download Temperature monitor 3.2 which will tell you the temp of the HD bottomside.

My 1.33 12" with the stock 60 GB 4200 rpm HD now reads 108 F/42.2 C (HD bottomside temp) and the right rear fan is at 25 rpm and left rear fan is at 0 rpm. 'Course it's winter here and I keep the house at 66 F. Down under, what summer temps are you getting? Local air temp will really influence the laptop temps, along with processes you've got running.
HD temp reads 47 C (116 F). It's summer here and it's a nice warm 30 C (86 F). Not as hot indoors though (no a/c). Fan seems to kick in at the highest speed (you know the one that sounds like a jet plane about to take off) when the AC cord is plugged in.

Running 10.4.4 and there is nothing pegging the CPU.

What confuses me is from all my research I was told the temp effects of 7200rpm is negligible/minimal. Fan hardly came on at all before.

| 12"Al.PB:1.33GHz:1.25GB:100GB:SD |
     
amazing
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Feb 1, 2006, 10:48 PM
 
Well, my 1.33 MiniMe did tend to get very hot here in Colorado with summer temps getting in the high 80s or 90s, and I do seem to recall a high fan speed like you mention, but only when I was playing Shanghai (mahjong solitaire) in Classic, which really stresses the cpu. That's when I brought out the small desk fan to blow across the laptop--pleasant for both me and the laptop...

It may be a combination of the slight increase in temps from the 7200 rpm, along with whatever software is stressing the cpu. I've also heard that the 7200 rpm didn't raise temps for others, but perhaps those laptops have air conditioning?? The high ambient air temps mean that the fan has to work harder to cool the laptop...and when the 12" rev A first came out, the small form factor really did heat up (I heard the nickname "firebook" bandied about.)

About when plugged into AC: If you're plugged in a lot, you can take the battery out so that the laptop isn't expending power and generating heat keeping the battery charged. Natch, if you're working on mission critical stuff you better have a UPS battery backup in case of power failures... When you're running on battery, the "automatic" setting reduces the cpu speed drastically (steps down by about 1/2), thereby keeping temps down and extending battery life. Working on AC with the battery removed reduces the flexibility of just unplugging and moving off into the blue, but it will "rest" the battery and keep it from aging "prematurely."
     
raytibbitts
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Jul 3, 2008, 08:18 PM
 
Rest your Powerbook on 2 or 3 Otter Pops.
I guarantee lower fan speeds, and HDD and Battery temp's.
CPU temp. usually comes down too.
GPU sometimes remains unaffected, which worries me.
The effect usually lasts about as long as a full battery charge (and the battery lasts longer when using the Otter Pops for cooling)
Makes it much more comfortable to rest your hands while typing, as well.
     
amazing
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Jul 5, 2008, 10:39 AM
 
wow, a real blast from the past! a revival and resurrection of a long-dead thread!

Still, I'm writing this on the self-same 12", on a laptop cooler that I recently bought with the summer temps in mind--having also just installed a 5400 rpm 250 GB HD. The laptop cooler with 3 fans blows air directly at the bottom of the 12". I threw away a Targus cooler that sucked air away from the laptop, because it just didn't provide effective cooling and eventually just plain died.

Having the 250 GB is truly luxurious, but the internal temps have increased...

And, in a few days, with the temps soaring once again, I'll be bringing out the small deskfan.
     
Cold Warrior
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Jul 5, 2008, 11:12 AM
 
Zombie thread. Closing...
     
   
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